Position Breakdown 2012: Quarterbacks


Going into the 2012 season, the Oklahoma Sooners football team has five quarterbacks listed on the roster, Trevor Knight, Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson, Landry Jones, and Drew Allen. OU is set at quarterback with Landry Jones, a Heisman Trophy candidate and unquestioned leader of the team. Behind Landry the depth chart is also set with Blake Bell and Drew Allen both expected to get snaps as the primary backup. Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight are both freshmen who have bright futures.

Landry Jones will forever be remembered by Sooner fans for his first appearance at quarterback during his freshman season. In the season opener against BYU in Dallas, Sam Bradford went down with a shoulder injury and his OU career was effectively over. Enter Landry Jones, a tall quarterback prospect out of Artesia, New Mexico. OU went on to lose the game and ended up suffering a very disappointing season, due in part to the pre-season expectations of the entire team.

Here are Landry’s numbers for his career:

SeasonCompAttemptsYardsComp %YPATD/INTATT/INT

It’s important to remember that because of OU’s style of offense that emphasizes a horizontal passing game, Landry’s YPA are going to be lower than most quarterbacks.

I think Landry’s best physical tool is his arm strength, which I believe will grade out as his highest tool for his NFL Draft evaluations. I think Landry would be better served in a vertical passing attack that did more to display his arm strength, but he is still successful in Oklahoma’s horizontal attack. It is easy to think of Landry missing deep throws to receivers in his OU career, but I can’t think of any deep passes thrown by Landry that were behind an open receiver.

Landry’s biggest weakness in his time at Oklahoma has been his proclivity for throwing interceptions. His ATT/INT ratios in 2009 and 2011 are both pretty bad. In comparison Sam Bradford had ATT/INT ratios of 60.375 in 2008 and 42.625 in 2007. I would probably rate Landry as having a stronger arm so it’s clear that Landry’s interceptions are a decision-making problem.

Landry is clearly the starter for Oklahoma and is once again a preseason candidate for the Heisman Trophy, as he was in 2011. The success of Landry leading the Oklahoma offense is probably the most important factor for OU in the 2012 season. Behind Landry are two quarterbacks who are more or less even as the backup quarterback. Blake Bell and Drew Allen each have their unique skill sets and both should see snaps this year.

Blake Bell is a huge athlete at quarterback, listed at 6-6 254 on the Oklahoma roster, and was featured in the “Bell-Dozer” package beginning in the Baylor game in 2011. The “Bell-Dozer” package is essentially a wildcat package with Bell in shotgun in close yardage situations where he will probably run the ball. This package was incredibly useful for the Sooners in 2011 with the loss of Ryan Broyles in the Texas A&M game and the subsequent struggles of the offense. Bell gave the Sooners a reliable red zone weapon at the end of the season. I see the Sooners continuing the use of the “Bell-Dozer” package in close yardage situations in the 2012 season.

One skill that is not a strength for Blake Bell is his passing, as he only had four attempts in 2011. If the coaching staff had confidence in Bell throwing the ball, he would have more last season. This is where Drew Allen has a chance to see snaps.

If something were to happen to Landry and the Sooners needed a quarterback to lead the offense I think it would probably be Drew Allen. Drew is a junior and has good size (6-5 226) but does not have the goal line running ability of Blake Bell. In comparison to Bell’s stats for the season, Drew Allen was given 16 passing attempts. I know, neither quarterback was given a real opportunity for important passing plays, but I think Allen would be given the opportunity to lead OU’s passing attack before Blake Bell.

With Landry Jones, Blake Bell, and Drew Allen, I believe Bob Stoops should redshirt both Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight. I admittedly don’t know too much about Trevor Knight, but I am very high on Kendal Thompson.

I went to the Red and White game this past spring and was very impressed with the skills showed by Kendal Thompson. Kendal is the son of former OU great Charles Thompson and appears to have many of the same physical skills as his father. Obviously any performance in a spring game should be taken with a very large grain of salt, but he did show a great ability to run and pass the ball. I look forward to seeing Kendal Thompson get a chance to showcase these abilities down the road. If Thompson is in fact redshirted, then I would show up to next year’s spring game just to see him play quarterback again.